Stories from the field Category
We managed to travel to the northwest region of Namibia for a relief trip. We arrived at a gathering of over 720 Angolan men, women and children, who until this day sleep under trees to escape the sun’s intense rays. Severe drought in southern Angola left these families no choice but to flee from their homes. Their water supply dwindled, their crops and livestock devastated, their livelihoods at a standstill for the most affected areas of Angola. Their decision was a matter of life or death. Hunger overwhelms the people.
We met a woman named Yambeko. Yambeko means blessing, and a blessing she is indeed. Yambeko is from Namibia. She volunteered to care for these Angolan refugees by preparing food for them from her own pocket. No one asked Yambeko to help these people in need—she simply would not look the other way.
Yambeko explained that when they first arrived, people were dying right in front of her face. In her desperation to help these families, Yambeko first boiled water mixed with salt and sugar for the people to drink and gain energy since most of them were unable to walk or talk. Then she began making whatever food she could to feed every mouth she could reach. “Most of the people were near death, and middle-aged men and women looked over 70 years old when I first met them,” Yambeko described, “after I started feeding them, they began to recover and feel much better.”
I also had an opportunity to hear from the migrants themselves and how they managed to escape their country due to the extreme drought in their region. The conditions for refugees fleeing Angola here are severe. Heatstroke, sickness, homelessness, hunger and death. A heart-wrenching reality.
Tears welled up in one elderly woman’s eyes as she described all they had been through on the way to Namibia. “It was horrible,” she whispered, “I only have one granddaughter left, and she is fighting for her life.” In their hardship, these people mourn the loss of their children, mothers, fathers and loved ones. Most of the people have lost family members on their journey to Namibia alone.
My friends, these people are faced with many challenges, as you can imagine. But when you ask them their needs, most will only tell you of their hunger.
It is a blessing for me to have gone up there with my wife. She provided the children with medical checkups and identified some medications they’ll need. The relief aid we provided for refugees included hot meals and staple food items, medical care and blankets.
I felt it necessary to tell them about our international friends in Canada and your contributions toward the relief initiative. The people send their greetings, thanksgiving and love.
From my wife and I, we are truly blessed to have partnered with you in this long journey of sacrifices. We are trusting the Almighty God that you will not give up sharing your blessings with strangers. Your generosity is highly appreciated, and may God richly bless you.
World Refugee Day is on June 20. Throughout the month of June, we will highlight a few refugee groups of today to raise awareness and global support for displaced people around the world. Join us in prayer and support today.
“He loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18